Francis W. “Steve” Stephenson was the founder of Steve’s Sundry Books and Magazines in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which he opened in November of 1947 at 12th and Harvard. Steve shared part of a building with Ernest Moody of Moody’s Jewelry. He met his wife Hazel while earning a marketing degree from Oklahoma A&M now known as Oklahoma State University. After graduation he went to work for a variety store known as S.H. Cress. After serving in the Navy as a recruiter during WWII, he returned to Tulsa and eventually opened Steve’s Sundry, which was a complete drug store without the pharmacy. In the early days of the store, Steve sold boat motors, lawn mowers, fishing tackle, and became the first dealer in Oklahoma to sell Zebco reels. It was in 1958 that Steve moved the store to its present location at 26th and Harvard. Steve became known for promoting local authors hosting around 100 book signings a year, often for first-time authors. While big chain bookstores have come and gone, this small, independent bookstore remains open largely due to the personal attention given by Steve and now his daughter-in-law Joanie Stephenson. Steve was an avid tennis player, winning the over 70 and over 80 tennis championships in the National Senior Olympics. This interview was conducted in 2009 when Steve was 91. He had a tennis match scheduled for that afternoon. He was 93 when he died on Tuesday, November 22, 2011.
Interview with Steve Stephenson
Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Date Created: February 2009 at Steve Stephenson’s home
Date Published: December 2, 2011
Photocredits: Image used on home slide and first image in the slideshow courtesy Tulsa World.
Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.